By Nisean Lorde
Two men. Two hot-dog stands. Two bursaries. One winner.
The two hot dog vendors — George Calinoiu and Ernie, who gives his last name as Ernie — set up within sight of each other outside of Jorgenson Hall. Each conducted bursary drives in which a full day’s worth of hot dog sales went towards student bursaries.
“I got so much support from students, I was very happy,” says George.
George raised $1,170 for a RyeSAC bursary on Sept. 25. He feels touched by the lives the bursary money will help. He remembers the time a student came up to him crying because his bursary money helped pay for one of his courses.
“That guy really touched me,” George said.
George describes the relationship with Ernie, who vends hot dogs several metres away from him, as being on a “hi and bye” basis.
“I’m here just to stay alive, not to kill Ernie. I just want to stay alive. I don’t want to be Ernie’s competition.”
George believes he has the best hot dogs and the better condiments.
“To beat someone who was here for 21 years you have to come up with the better stuff,” says George.
Ernie has been conducting his bursary drive for 10 years. His total sales for last Thursday’s drive reached a little over $1,500. He also has been receiving positive feedback about his bursary drive and says he’s not worried about the competition.
“I bet you we do more money than anybody else selling hot dogs in Toronto,” says Ernie, who boasts he also has served clientele from a variety of places from California to Hong Kong.
“I’m international, there’s people coming from all over to buy my hot dogs,” says Ernie. “They come with a frown, they leave with a smile.”
Ernie also describes his relationship with George as being friendly but not close, and says that George copies whatever he does, including the bursary drive.
“If I wear a red shirt he’s probably wear a red shirt tomorrow,” says Ernie, “It’s not only just him, everybody copies.”
George says that Ernie is the one receiving full support from the faculty, which is why he is making more money.
“The staff isn’t buying from me, but they support Ernie,” says George. “I wonder why?”
But he agrees that when it all comes down to it, it’s about helping the students with the bursary money.